Sometimes we equate digital with immaterial but that’s far from being the case. The ‘new technologies’ sector is not just about services: it contributes significantly to a growing stream of Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). According to the third (and most recent) United Nations Global E-Waste Monitor study, in 2019 a record 53.6 million tons of electronic waste was reached, representing a 21% increase in just five years. Less than a fifth of it is properly managed for reuse or recycle.
Electric bikes are booming, you can see them on the streets, see the new stores specializing in them, and you can see media outlets talking and writing about them. The Financial Times even produced this nice short video overview of the phenomenon, including a couple of factory visits, and traveling to two cities in Germany where e-bikes are making great inroads. After decades and decades of devastating car-centric city development, are e-bikes the next great technological transformation for cities?
There are a lot of grassroots and human-centred aspects to Fab Cities, but it’s also an intersection of fields where technology tends to play a large role. Even with better maintenance, re-use, repair, upcycling, and recycling, a lot of our electronics end up in the trash or supposedly recycled but actually shipped elsewhere to be disposed of in less than ideal situations.
The climate crisis will play out (is playing out) in various ways, two of them are more frequent and more extreme weather events, and another is temperatures rising unevenly. Some countries, and especially some cities, are already being hit hard.
Let’s start by “filing” this under a few ideas so that readers might better understand why this article on city administrations creating digital twins of their municipalities deserves their time. It’s kind of fascinating, it’s partially a new vision of smart cities, it’s quite aspirational so far (some might say it’s mostly hype), and it’s an intriguing topic where urbanism, architecture, challenges like the climate crisis, and gaming intersect.